Our 7mo daughter's sleep habits have gotten all out of whack, and I'm looking for feedback on the best way to get us back on track.
Nina slept great right from birth; 6 hours on the first night and nearly every night until the big 4 month regression. Even after that, she still got a good 4-5 hours and was pretty easy to put down. (We always started the night in the crib in our room, and brought her into bed at her first waking.)
But then things kind of fell apart. First, she was teething at the end of November. Then we went to Italy the first week of December where she co-slept full time. Her sleep was a bit erratic after that and she was protesting the crib big time, but we just let it go because we had another trip to Europe for Christmas (also co-sleeping full time). And now she is teething again.
Now we are at the point where she basically HAS to nurse to get to sleep, and just will not go down in her crib at all. Even when we wait until she's in a very deep sleep, she will wake with a wail as soon as she touches the crib mattress. We have tried various things like warming the crib mattress with a warm hot water bottle first...we always run a humidifier for comfort and white noise...I've cut out dairy and caffeine completely in case that might be affecting her. And she's nursing nearly non-stop at night, waking at least every hour and really just wanting to comfort nurse the entire night. If we try to gently sub with a pacifier or finger, she just gets pissed and wide awake. Naps are a bit of an issue because I can't leave her alone on our bed (no rails).
So. We very much want to get her back into her former routine. I want to wait until this teething episode is done before changing things too much...but for now we are focusing on re-regulating her sleep schedule after the two bouts of jet lag. We're doing what we can to facilitate good naps at regular times, hoping that eventually it will help her evening sleep, too. I'm also trying get her to nurse more during the day, hoping that she will nurse less at night - but no luck so far. Even with lots of day time milk, she's still waking a LOT.
The next step, I guess, is helping her re-learn how to get to sleep without nursing. We're hoping that once she is more comfortable with that, that my husband will be able to get her back to sleep sometimes during the night rather than having to nurse her down 18 times a night. I guess my hope is that maybe she won't keep waking up to nurse every hour if it isn't always available - but ugh, that feels harsh, and clearly we're not ready to fully night wean.
I've been trying to dissect which steps we should take and when, in what order, that sort of thing. What do you guys think? Any tips? Share your little pearls of wisdom, wise mamas!